Lowell to have surgery on injured hip
Sox's third baseman will undergo procedure on Monday
BOSTON -- There were two turning points when Mike Lowell -- the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 World Series -- realized there would be no Fall Classic for him this season.
The first was when after being shut down prior to Game 4 of the American League Division Series vs. the Angels because of recurring right hip woes, the swelling didn't go down even following four or five days of doing nothing.
The second was when general manager Theo Epstein told Lowell, who was ineligible for the AL Championship Series, he had a "99 percent chance" of not being on a potential World Series roster. At that point, the Red Sox's third baseman decided it was no longer smart to delay having surgery.
After several months of treading water -- at best -- in regards to his right hip, Lowell will at last make forward progress on Monday, when he undergoes surgery to repair a partial tear of his labrum.
The procedure will be performed in New York by Dr. Bryan Kelly, who works for the New York Giants of the National Football League.
"I just didn't want to drag it out and see if it affects the later part of Spring Training or even Aril of next year," said Lowell. "I think if I do it now, with the doctor's time-table, by mid-February, everything should be good to go. I think that lines me up well to have a full Spring Training and not be rushed and have it affect next year."
Lowell said the injury would likely prevent him from his goal of playing for Puerto Rico in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
"That hurts, believe it or not," said Lowell. "I really wanted to do it. That's something I really would have enjoyed. The fact that my dad played for Puerto Rico, it would have been really cool to have two generations representing the place I was born. But it was it is. These are circumstances I couldn't control. I think the focus is getting healthy. The 2009 season is kind of my main priority right now."
The injury nagged at Lowell for months. He first felt the discomfort in late June. And it lingered and lingered, even when Lowell sat for two weeks with an oblique injury in August.
Lowell managed to start Game 1 and 3 of the ALDS, but he was hobbled to the point it was obvious he couldn't go on any longer.
Even as Lowell's statistics declined, he refused to make excuses. Before Tuesday's Game 4 of the ALCS, Lowell could finally put his frustrating ordeal into perspective.
"It was just really a struggle the last three months," said Lowell. "During the season, you always have things that nag a little bit. But after 10 days, two weeks, it always goes away. I just felt like I was battling through this for about three weeks before the All-Star break and the whole second half. I guess from that point it's kind of difficult, because you don't feel like you have everything you're used to having going into the game."
Now, Lowell will cheer on his team and said that if the Red Sox advance to the World Series, he would try to be in the dugout, even if on crutches.
"I'm happy that the team is in the postseason and still has a chance at advancing and going to the World Series," Lowell said. "I think that would be a great accomplishment for all of us."
The surgery will be more complex than just repairing the labrum.
"From what I understand, they'll fix the labrum issue. I don't know if that's taken out," said Lowell. "They'll tie up whatever needs to be tied up, and the biggest part is they call it a bump. I'm assuming that's a big bone spur on the top of my femur. That's what's been jamming that whole area. I think the recovery would be a lot less if it was just the labrum, but then the bone spur, and then looking at something on my abductor. They said there was an issue there."
Limited to 113 games in 2008, Lowell hit .274 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.